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A few quick questions...for Ducks, would I be handicapping myself by using 2.75 inch one oz loads of#3 shot?
And latter in the season, when the chances of a mixed bag of ducks & geese, would a load of 3 inch 1.25 oz #1 shot be to large for ducks?
Or am I over thinking it, and should I just use 3 inch 1.25 oz #2 shot a all the time and call it good? All hunting will be done over Decoys. Thanx.
 

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For simplicity, I shall give the short answer. (IMO)
There would be nothing actually wrong with shooting a 3 inch load of 2's all the time. I did it with 3's for the first 5 years of my waterfowl career and killed birds along with everyone else.
I change shot sizes for what game and what distance I think I may be hunting. Staying with steel shot you are pretty much limited to under 50 yard shots. I never noticed much difference in killing power under 50 yards between 2's and 3's and 4's. I did notice a large change in pellet counts and once I evened my pattern out, my big duck count went up when I switched to different sized shot.

If you want to only carry one shell and do everything with it, load it half with steel BB's and half with steel 4s. You may have to individually measure the shot out by hand or use a rifle / pistol primer tray to count the pellets but for a do all load that may be an option.
 

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Most of the guys I hunt with use 3" #2's on everything from woodies to geese , as they have for years . All of our shooting is over dekes . They like anything over 1450 fps .

The past few seasons I've been shooting mainly 3" 20 gauge Kent #4 7/8ths at an advertised 1550 fps and it's been killing mallards just fine . I never shoot at anything much past 35-40 yards though . It's killed several geese dead in the air but they were all in close .
 

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Gsjcky said:
A few quick questions...for Ducks, would I be handicapping myself by using 2.75 inch one oz loads of#3 shot?
And latter in the season, when the chances of a mixed bag of ducks & geese, would a load of 3 inch 1.25 oz #1 shot be to large for ducks?
Or am I over thinking it, and should I just use 3 inch 1.25 oz #2 shot a all the time and call it good? All hunting will be done over Decoys. Thanx.
No, you are not overthinking.
I load a 1 oz load of #3 to use on early season birds that are a bit more lightly feathered and tend to work closer. There is also a mix of teal in the early flights.
If you get geese mixed with large ducks later #1 is a good compromise. Also good on windy days.
Later in the year I am shooting 90 percent mallards and gadwalls and they are spookier. That's when 3" #2's shine.
I never shoot #4 at anything but teal or woodies.
 

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RandyWakeman said:
Gsjcky said:
should I just use 3 inch 1.25 oz #2 shot a all the time and call it good? Thanx.
It is the best compromise, for steel.
Not for a mixed bag of ducks and geese as asked. #1 or even larger will give the penetration needed for geese.

For ducks only it is the best compromise shot size.
 

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67galaxie said:
#2 have worked well but for close range #5-7 work great all around
You do realize that #5 thru #7 steel shot is very small and used for upland game birds and clay targets......right? Those sizes are not appropriate for large ducks, much less geese.
 

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Gsjcky said:
Thanx for the advice....I may just keep it simple, and stick with 3" #2's. Guess it's time to shoot a few patterns, & see what's best for my gun.
Just got back from a patterning session with several loads. The 1 oz. load was #3 (154 pellets) in a 2 3/4 Federal hulls and Longshot powder. The load chronographed at 1487 fps. The one pattern I shot was 79.2 percent well cetered. The choke was a Carlson ext I.M. choke.

That combo should kill big ducks out to about 45 yards maybe better.
 

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DeltaRunner said:
BADDUCK said:
67galaxie said:
#2 have worked well but for close range #5-7 work great all around
You do realize that #5 thru #7 steel shot is very small and used for upland game birds and clay targets......right? Those sizes are not appropriate for large ducks, much less geese.
He's still shooting lead. :lol:
I have a buddy that does that when he's by himself. He calls them L's. :wink:
 

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I know high velocity light payload is all the rage. But, I'm still a believer in putting plenty of the right sized shot on target. The past couple of years I've had good success and taken a real liking to Kent Fasteel in heavier payloads. For the early season shots over decoys, 2-3/4" - 1-1/4 oz - #3's @ 1300 fps sound good to me. For the late season, 3" - 1-3/8 oz - #2's @ 1300 fps. And, I've shot a bunch of the 3 inchers with BB's at snow geese with good luck.
 

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I shoot a 1 oz #3 load for field shooting ducks as it does well bringing down the close ones and if there are any broken wing cripples, the ducks can't dive from the dogs very well. These are reloads running in the 1450 fps range. If geese are the main course with ducks a "bonus" I generally use a 3" 1 1/4 oz load of #1 or handloads of B shot in the same 1450 fps range. If I can only find the standard 1375-1400 fps loads I don't get upset as they work well too. I just have a bit more confidence in the slightly faster shells as they seem to better match the leads I have learned with lead target loads. Large Canada geese or spooky snows are the game then the same loads with BB are first choice with BBB preferred if the largest Canada species are in town.

Over water my "go to" duck load is a 3", 1 1/4 oz load of #2 shot at 1450 fps. I like the bigger shot as the range tends to be longer than over land and I generally shoot larger ducks rather than smaller teal and woodies. If geese are expected I move straight to BB or BBB as one may have to contend with shooting through wings if they are broadside and landing or through the chest at longer range than if on land. The BB will do a job on ducks too and it is what I have used for eiders in the past.
 

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BADDUCK said:
67galaxie said:
#2 have worked well but for close range #5-7 work great all around
You do realize that #5 thru #7 steel shot is very small and used for upland game birds and clay targets......right? Those sizes are not appropriate for large ducks, much less geese.
Sorry I should have stated close range as in hunting woodies and geese flying in the same range-35yards
 

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:D
DeltaRunner said:
BADDUCK said:
67galaxie said:
#2 have worked well but for close range #5-7 work great all around
You do realize that #5 thru #7 steel shot is very small and used for upland game birds and clay targets......right? Those sizes are not appropriate for large ducks, much less geese.
He's still shooting lead. :lol:
 

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I use 3-1/2" #2s 1-1/2oz on ducks and 3-1/2" BB 1-1/2oz on geese. Was planning on using heavy metal but think I may try out some heavy steel and Kents. I don't really ever shoot over 50 yards. I'm just not sure if I really need the big money loads. I mean I started out with a 20ga. Shooting the cheapest steel I could get and killed ducks.

I can't wait for the first weekend in September. It won't get here soon enough.
 
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